New Deal fails young claimants

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The Independent Online
MORE THAN 500,000 young unemployed people are being allowed to slip through society's net, according to a report by an independent think- tank published today. The survey by Demos says the Government's New Deal programme has failed the most deprived among those aged 16 to 24. They are unable to claim benefits but have little prospect of work, further education or training.

Youth unemployment figures show a fall of 18,000 since New Deal was launched in 1998, but Demos found that for every young person claiming unemployment benefit there was another missing from the system. The research found that there were 624,000 young people out of the system. One in three had no qualifications, half lived in households where nobody worked and nearly 40 per cent of the people had never worked.

"Periods of unemployment early on in adulthood leads to greatly reduced chances of economic independence, employment and of having a stable family life later on," said Tom Bentley, author of the report.

t A "three-strikes-and-you're-out" benefit rule is to be introduced for youngsters who refuse to take up New Deal job offers, the Government is to announce this week.

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